Crowdfunding My Way To College

August 1, 2014 /

photo: Fernando Almaraz

Ed. Note: Earlier this year, We’Ced’s Fernando Almaraz was granted admission to George Washington University in Washington, D.C., bringing him one step closer to his dream of being a judge or a congressman. Unfortunately, though he qualified for significant financial aid he needed funds to help cover the registration costs of attending, which are due before financial aid is given out. 

In this audio and written commentary, Fernando shares his experience in crowd-funding his college registration fee, allowing him to attend his dream school. This story first ran as an audio commentary on Youth Radio.  


I didn’t have anybody to guide me through the college application process. I managed to get into George Washington University with significant financial aid, but I hadn’t planned on the registration fee. So I went online.

For my family, paying the $800 registration fee was out of our reach. My mentor suggested I try crowdfunding — which means creating an online campaign to raise money from my community and from strangers.

I was doubtful, but I was also in need. So I created my profile and website, explaining my situation. When I woke up 12 hours later, I had received more than $1000 in donations.

More and more people are turning to crowdfunding to pay for college fees and tuition. There’s a feeling of solidarity that comes with it. One anonymous donor gave me over 400 dollars, because she almost had to put off attending Columbia University because of money.

I’m so grateful to everyone who donated. Because of this experience, I know I have people in my community who trust me to achieve an education. I hope to come back to my community and run for office. One day, maybe I’ll make it to Congress.

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